Unlocking Opportunities with Shopper Research

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“Get in the Game” — a new report from the NACS / CCRRC — showcases how convenience retailers use advice provided in the previously published Playbook for Success to defend their turf and attract new business. Based on in-depth research with thousands of operators, the three-step guide helps c-stores better align with and meet their customers’ needs.

“Get in the Game” highlights how some retailers use shopper research to “scout the opportunity” before executing an initiative. For example, it demonstrates that a simple survey, designed to identify shopper satisfaction, can guide an operator to develop an action plan that leads to success. Case studies include:

• A six-store convenience retailer, that found a survey to be “a simple and affordable way” to collect customer feedback, identified how to defend its existing business and strengthen several categories to grow sales.
• A forty-store chain that employed a survey discovered that although it received strong customer satisfaction scores, the business would benefit from working on the basics.

“Market basket missions,” another shopper research tool addressed in the latest report, analyzes the combination of products purchased during a transaction. This helps operators determine the needs customers wanted to satisfy on each visit and supports their merchandise planning activities.

Imagine how much more you could grow your business if you leveraged shopper research to focus your efforts. Learn how by reading the “Get in the Game” report available at no charge at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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Making Friends

Winning over shoppers through the social web requires careful attention to all the best time-honored retail strategies, with recognition that discussions and connections are simply moving at new speed. The Integer Group, the firm handling this new study of the social web for the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, offers up some key suggestions in the newest section of this report.

  1. Give shoppers a reason to like your brand on the social web. If you want to make connections in big numbers you need to provide benefits like special discounts or other promotions. And remember to make your web presence is interesting. There is a reason that pop stars have millions of followers and most stores do not.
  2. Be subtle with your marketing. Remember, this is about community and you want to be a trusted friend in places like Facebook. Market too hard and your connections may turn you off.
  3. Allow easy sharing of deals and information. It’s all about networking and you want your shopper friends to share the benefits they get with others to drive even more attention to you on the social web and at your stores.
  4. Recognize that shoppers like coupons and discount sites, so figure out how to engage in a productive way. Remember, your competition can be using sites like Groupon to build traffic and you need to keep a careful eye on all these activities.
  5. Don’t stop what you are doing. Your information and your page needs to be refreshed constantly so shoppers have a reason to come back time and again.

These insights and more can be found in the third section of this new study, easily downloaded at www.ccrrc.org. Just look for it in the section marked “North America.”

 

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Is Social Networking Like High School?

Understanding how groups and connections form on social networking sites can be as simple as remembering the strange development of cliques and social circles in high school. People self-select into specific groupings and what they say can build or destroy reputations. Some groups are inclusive and some exclusive, plus fun and exciting people seem to attract a crowd.

It was that way in the high school cafeteria and it’s the same on the social web. Of course, there is one huge difference. High schools students are all roughly the same age and from a single geographic area, while the social web is far more diverse. The latest research finds that 15% of social web users are under the age of 18, 39% are between 18 and 34 and 46% are 35 and older.

Yet the social circles or areas of interest in the social web are very familiar. Users tend to find a fairly specific group of social media categories to spend their time:

  • Location—complete with localized reviews and guides
  • Networking—either professional or personal and increasingly reliant on mobile devices
  • Gaming—places for leisure
  • News and publications—for blogs, news updates and wikis
  • Sharing—photos, videos, music and links
  • Discussion—forums, FAQs and commentary
  • And, of course, commerce—for shopping, opinions, reviews and inspiration.

The two most widely used sites: Google and Facebook serve as a center for all this activity, helping users move from circle to circle depending on their needs and pointing the way to areas of activity.

What’s amazing about the whole arena of social networking is how quickly it has blossomed into a global phenomenon, since its invention in the 1990s. Even Facebook, by far the largest of all sites, began only eight years ago on a single college campus. Today it is cited as a global force for political change and certainly a level of societal connection never seen before.

Businesses seeking to get a sense of how to build a social networking strategy need to understand how the social web grew up and how it is developing. Details on both of these elements can be found in Part 1 of a recently released study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. Check out the report, authored by The Integer Group, at www.ccrrc.org (under Councils – North America page) and look for additional sections and discussion of this new report.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council ofNorth America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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A Single Shot of Sales Growth

Looking for a way to perk up sales and brew new profits. Forgive the silly hints, and think about morning coffee and the growing use of single-shot coffee makers.

Breakfast is the most routine meal of the day, with many people eating the same thing numerous times each week. For supermarket retailers, breakfast is an easy meal to take for granted since the bulk of traditional products reside mainly on supermarket shelves.

Except in recent years better-tasting coffee has become a huge reason why even economically pressed shoppers visit specialty shops multiple times a day. And that’s where the single-shot machines become so important.

As detailed in Eating In https://ccrrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Eating_In_2010.pdf , a study of meal patterns conducted by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, winning coffee time can be key to building breakfast sales. Those single-shot machines offer customers the opportunity for high quality Joe at an economical price.

Combine that with the potential to improve sales and customer loyalty, and single-shot coffee products provide multiple reasons for additional consideration by retailers.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Meiners Utilizes Playbook for Success Survey Tool

Meiners convenience stores first learned about the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council Playbook for Success http://bit.ly/18FUtUp by reading about it in a trade publication. After being inspired, six months later the organization set things in motion and started to see the benefits.

According to my contact at Meiners, the company had been doing a good job meeting the needs of its customers, but wanted to hear what their shoppers had to say. While the owner/management team had never conducted shopper research, they were comfortable using the short survey provided in The Playbook for Success.

After interviewing a cross section of customers and employees, they learned there was great opportunity to expand their food service offering and keep up with competition. Today, Meiners is acting on that finding, ensuring their offerings are understood and appreciated by customers.

I believe The Playbook for Success helped Meiners take its first step with shopper research. This is exactly what the Council members hoped would happen when they started the project by saying we need to find ways to “ask customers what we can do to encourage them to spend more in our stores.”

Whether you’re ready to take your first step with shopper research or looking for a blueprint for growth, The Playbook for Success can help.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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Improvement Begins at the Top

Getting to Great Cover Artwork 2

There’s a simple reason why some stores, or even department teams, work better than others: it all begins with leadership. A manager at any level has the ability to lift up or erode confidence.

Not surprisingly, superior managers produce a more loyal team, which in turn drives stronger sales and profits.

The steps toward even minor improvement are clearly outlined in Getting to Great, https://ccrrc.org/studies/getting-to-great-mapping-management-practices-that-drive-great-store-performance/ a study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. The report, conceived by a group of retail executives, details the steps managers can take to improve their own performance and better lead their teams. It also outlines the results that can be achieved.

For instance, in stores with high employee loyalty, the staff is far more likely to work toward company goals and better engage with shoppers. Stores with poorly motivated teams do the opposite.

Getting to Great can help managers — at any level — identify their own areas of strength and set a path to improvement. The results can benefit everyone.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.comGetting to Great Cover Artwork

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In the Mood: Understanding the Shopper

There’s endless discussion about the changing shopper, emerging demographics and even the increase of men in the aisles of supermarkets. But no matter who is actually doing the shopping, the factors driving them remain the same — feeding the household on a budget.

The World According to Shoppers, http://ccrrc.org/studies/the-world-according-to-shoppers/ a study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, took a deep look into shopper motivations and outlined nine different moods or need states that seem to be reflected in all trips. Those need states range from big stock-up trips to quick grab-and-go visits.

What retailers might find most interesting is the similar motivations, yet vastly different mindsets on seemingly comparable trips. That’s because shoppers love, while others dislike the supermarket visit.

Understanding these motivations can help a store better meet the needs of shoppers and, in the process, improve loyalty and sales.

 

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Help Desk for The Playbook for Success

Want to grow your business but not sure how to get started? Answers may be found in the NACS/CCRRC Playbook for Success – http://bit.ly/18FUtUp. Recommendations are based on solid shopper research, as well as the positive experiences of large and small convenience retailers.

And, to support you on your road to improvement, our new help desk is available to offer guidance. Simply contact me at bill.bishop@brickmeetsclick.com to schedule a 30-minute call — at no cost or obligation to you. During our conversation, we can:

  • Talk about how the Playbook is applicable to your business.
  • Discuss how to tackle suggested actionable steps.
  • Review successes experienced by operators in the Playbook’s case studies.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

bill.bishop@brickmeetsclick.com

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Holiday Successful with “Fresh Value Fast” Growth Platform

Holiday OneAre you among the convenience retailers ready to focus on new growth platforms, such as ones designed to attract different shoppers and address a variety of shopping occasions? If so, you’ll want to know that “Fresh Value Fast” is getting a lot of attention today and that’s the direction Holiday is headed for their growth program.

Holiday had a traditional convenience food service offering, yet wanted to broaden the appeal of its stores by adding a line of fresh, healthier products. The organization worked with a local food service provider to develop a line of salads and other fresh items.

After launching the initiative in the spring of 2013, with sampling and an attractively signed display, it wasn’t long before sales began to climb. The products attracted not only new customers to Holiday outlets, but traditional shoppers as well.

Need more inspiration? The Playbook for Success focuses on three other growth platforms: Family Time, My Time and Female Friendly http://bit.ly/18FUtUp.

If you’re ready to try something new, the growth platforms in The Playbook for Success present ideas that will appeal to your customers and help you grow your business.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

bill.bishop@brickmeetsclick.com

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Retailers Wanted: Share Your Story About Growing Your Business

All the shopper research done by the NACS/CCRRC found that our customers are seeing what most convenience retailers already know; i.e. there’s a lot more stores competing for their convenience business and some of the new ones are doing a pretty good job.  And if that’s not enough, the research also shows that the convenience retail channel has enough negative images in the shoppers’ minds to cause some to not even consider convenience retailers as an option.

These are big challenges that must be faced head on if we’re going to find ways to grow sales.

One place to look for help is the Playbook for Success:  A Three Step Guide to Growing C-Store Business, recently completed by the Council.  It provides research-based guidance that convenience retailers can use to build a stronger base for growth by finding ways to better align their efforts with the needs of their shoppers.  There is guidance for retailers who are still working on getting all the basics in place and for those looking for ideas to fine tune their “grab and go” business.  Lastly, there are also new growth platforms for retailers who are ready to meet entirely new types of shopper needs.

The Playbook contains a short set of questions retailers can use to survey their own customers and the results will point to where they can make immediate changes, including:

  •          Putting all the basics in place to meet minimum shopper expectations.
  •          Defending “their turf” in order to be the best choice for “grab and go”.
  •          Identifying and building new areas to generate sales.

This guidance was developed by retailers on the Council and for the remainder of 2013, we’re collecting the experiences of those who are beginning to use this guidance in their businesses to develop case studies, large and small, to help others see how they can benefit from this work.

Carol Jensen, chairperson of the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council and Wawa’s chief marketing officer and brand officer commented:

“The Council encourages retailers to participate by providing information and case studies about their experiences to help other retailers.  Our industry has a strong entrepreneurial foundation, and each member company has an opportunity to learn from each other.  There’s clearly an opportunity for more retailers to jump start their own sales growth by being part of this “doing and learning” phase of our work.  Take action now!”

If this sounds interesting to you, just pull down a copy of the Playbook by going to www.ccrrc.org to see if this looks like something that you could use.

If it does, email me at Bill.bishop@willardbishop.com and I’ll provide more information.

This is an opportunity for you to learn along with some of the best retailers in the business and there’s no cost to be part of it and no obligation to learn more.

Bill Bishop
Research Director
NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council
Founder, Willard Bishop Consulting and Chief Architect
Brick Meets Click http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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